Hi friends! I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted here, but one of the things I’m set on making happen in 2018 is suiting up and showing up here more often. I’d like to make this blog a little busier in support of YA authors who are unafraid to represent people from across the gender and sexual identity spectrum in their work, and in the process make it interesting and fun for readers. There’s only one of me, and at the present time I just don’t have enough news to keep it fresh all by myself. If you know of an author you’d like to see here, let me know in comments and I’ll see if I can get that done.
The Sun Child Chronicles are continuing! Book 3, Ciarrah’s Light is in editing with the publisher (Harmony Ink) right now, and it will be out in October—still a way off, but not too far. Here’s the blurb, and the graphic here has a snippet to tempt you.
Luccan, future Suth Chiell of the Ethran Sunlands, also known as Lucky, has completed one harrowing quest, but his adventures and hardships are only beginning. There’s little time to recuperate before his mother’s apparition attacks, drowning Lucky in horrible nightmares that drain his life and nearly kill him. Only through the power of his sentient obsidian blade, Ciarrah, can Lucky claw his way out of the shadowy visions and back to consciousness. But further horrors await him when he opens his eyes, and his country needs him more than ever.
Unstoppable wraiths—products of an advanced but dying alien world called Terrathia—are attacking, and swords and arrows cannot stop them. Fortunately Ciarrah’s magical light can, and with his uncle Han, the wizard Thurlock, his winged horse, and a horde of shifters from Earth at his back, Lucky faces them, determined to put an end to his mother’s destructive evil once and for all. But will stopping her end the horrors facing his world?
Meanwhile, the plan for the series has been expanded from five books total to six, and I’m busy writing book 4, Dragon’s Rise. Here’s a brief excerpt from my work-in-progress, just for fun.
Morning came cool and damp by the stream, but the music of the flowing water was sweet, and the day promised to be fine. Thurlock sat upon his bedroll and, listing to one side, flicked a lazy magical hand at the fire to light it. He clearly hadn’t been awake for long.
“Good morning, Thurlock,” Lucky said—very softly because he felt like loud words might shatter something.
Thurlock grunted and rolled onto his knees. He looked as though he was preparing to stand, though it might take some time. Lucky shot up and rushed over to offer him a hand. Thurlock accepted the help, which surprised Lucky once he thought about it.
“Thank you, young man,” Thurlock said. “Some days I do feel like I’m getting older, and this is one of them. I suppose it’s to be expected. I’ve not truly rested for days.”
“Didn’t you sleep last night, sir?”
“With one eye open, Luccan. With one eye open. Give me a few moments to wake up and drink some tea, and we’ll talk about your dreams.”
“My dreams?” How had Thurlock known?
“And some other things. How are the horses?”
Lucky recognized a dismissal when he heard one, so despite his discomfort with the idea that Thurlock had somehow known what had gone on in his head during the night, and despite his anxiety over what “other things” might be on the agenda for conversation, he left the wizard alone and went to tend the horses.
Lucky had always liked horses, though he’d been clumsy with them at first. After his stay with Morrow’s family, he’d gained confidence and come to understand them a lot better, and now he thought they liked him, too. Even the noble Sherah nuzzled him in greeting. He’d rubbed them down pretty good the night before, and they’d had access to fresh grazing and water where they were picketed, so there wasn’t a lot they needed. He looked them over, checked their hooves the way he’d been taught, and then gave them a light brushing to wake them up. He left them happily munching oats and went back to see about his and Thurlock’s breakfast.
He didn’t actually have to, though. He came back to the camp to find his plate keeping warm on one of the rocks lining the firepit, already loaded with bacon, slices of hearty bread, and a roasted apple. He smiled, and then smiled wider when he watched the water in his cup transform to hot cocoa. “Thanks, Thurlock,” he said, but he was wondering how the old man would take it if he asked for mocha from now on. He had recently developed a taste for coffee with his chocolate in the morning.
Lucky was still eating when Thurlock put his plate aside, refreshed his tea, and sat back, settling his gaze on Lucky. Which felt a little creepy and made Lucky wonder if he had a chocolate moustache or something. Of course that wouldn’t be what was on Thurlock’s mind, though. More likely he was about to treat Lucky to a serious wizardly conversation.
“Of course you know I can’t enter your mind like Han can, Luccan, but I set a spell—for your safety of course—to catch your dreams, and this morning it was quivering like a spider’s web when a giant fly lands in it. It’s a marvelous little spell, really, one I worked up when Han was young and his grief for his family was fresh. It catches the worst of the things that enter through our dreams and prevents them from getting deep into the mind.”
Flabbergasted that Thurlock had this remedy at hand and hadn’t used it to save him from his mother’s awful shade, Lucky blurted, “Why didn’t you use it to get me out when my mom had me trapped in the dark?”
“Oh,” Thurlock said. “I wish I could have, but it doesn’t work after the fact. Only if it’s set up ahead of time. But let me tell you more about it. It siphons off some of the more troubling aspects of the dream that are internal, coming from inside a person, and if one examines the web of the spell, they can see hints of the dream’s material. In this case, I saw mists and colors—that lovely electric blue we’ve both come to associate with evil things, and violet. The colors of darkness.”
“But you didn’t wake me?”
“I started to, but I saw your face, and you weren’t afraid, or hurt, or sick—not at all the way you looked during those other dreams. Instead you looked alert, interested, and maybe a little sneaky. Do you remember your dream, this time?”
“Yes,” Lucky said, noticing with surprise that it was true.
“Want to tell me what you saw?”
Lucky told him about his spying in the dream, and then, in conclusion, insisted, “Thurlock, I know the place I saw is a real place. It wasn’t like where my mother took me when she had me… my mind… captive. I don’t know where it is, but it’s part of the real world. This world. They… the enemy, I guess… they’re planning something big—bigger than the battle of Hoenholm. I’m sure of it, and that place I saw is where it’s going to happen.”
Thurlock spent a few minutes torturing his beard and sipping his tea, making a rude noise once when he shifted on his rock, followed by a muttered “oops.” Finally he looked once again at Lucky and said. “Could be just a dream, Luccan.”
Lucky wasn’t fooled. “You don’t believe that.”
“No. But it could be. Do you remember the features of this place you saw? Landmarks and such?”
“I… think so. Maybe.”
“Could you draw a picture of it?”
Lucky laughed out loud. “Thurlock, I can’t draw a stick figure so’s anybody’d recognize it as human.”
“Oh yes, I recall your runes were pretty sloppy. We’ll have to work on that—runes are important. But as to this other, perhaps, would you recognize the place if you saw a picture of it?”
“Are you asking me?”
“All right then. That could be useful. Saddle up. We’ve got to get moving. Wait, though.” He picked up a pile of metal bits from a rock next to him and held it out to Lucky. “Put this on.”
When Lucky shook it out, he discovered it was a hooded shirt made out of disks of sun metal linked together—leaf mail, he supposed. “I’ll bake,” he said, letting it show that he also thought it was ridiculous. They weren’t being shot at, for the gods’ sakes.
“Would you rather wear full, stiff armor like Gimli the Dwarf?”
“How did you know I read Lord or the Rings?”
“I know you read it twice.”
“I know lots of things. Answer the question?”
“Put it on then.”
“Because I said so.”
This was not the sort of argument Lucky was likely to cave in to, generally speaking. However when the person saying it was an obscenely powerful wizard who was currently causing sparks of irritation to stream from his magical staff…. Well, Lucky put the mail shirt on.
“Can I leave the hood down.”
“Of course you can—for now. I’m not unreasonable.”
That’s it for this time. I hope you enjoyed it, and I hope to see you soon.